Race Weekend Central

ARCA Power Rankings: Andres Perez de Lara’s Points Lead Grows to Double Digits

Tanner Gray finally took home a trophy. The pilot of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota captured the General Tire 150 victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday (May 24) evening for his first ARCA Menards Series triumph.

With Gray’s victory, there has not been a driver who has gone back-to-back in ARCA since 2023 champion Jesse Love won his fourth straight, at Watkins Glen International.

Moreover, Gray kept the series regulars out of the win column. Andres Perez de Lara still extended his points lead to 16. He and the top three maintained their points positions, Lavar Scott entered the top five (up to fourth), Kris Wright stayed in fifth and Christian Rose slipped two spots to sixth.

See also
Tanner Gray Rebounds to Win ARCA at Charlotte

1. Andres Perez de Lara

Perez de Lara scored his second career pole, earning a valuable bonus point, led the opening eight laps and came home third.

“We want better but you’ve got to be happy overall with the day how it went,” he told media post-race. “We showed a lot of speed. Just on my end, I made a mistake on the restart going wheel spinning. At least we bounced back. Obviously, we got to keep it on the game. We showed a lot of speed, were there at the end just couldn’t quite get it again.

“We’re so close to that win, I know it’s going to come soon, but I just got to thank all my Rev [Racing] guys. They brought me a really fast car […] at the end of the day we were one of the fastest cars out there, we just failed to execute on those little things that is preventing us from the win. But we’re close to it, and yeah, just confident that we’re building momentum for the season, which is good.”

The part-time competitors in 2024 have been quicker than the full-timers. Of the 11 who’ve participated in every event, Perez de Lara has been the best, not just in terms of points. He is tied for the most top fives and outright has the most top 10s and most completed laps.

The completed laps statistic is most impressive. When others have suffered misfortune, Perez de Lara has consistently gained spots by keeping his No. 2 clean. If he continues to avoid misfortune, he will be hard to beat for the championship.

2. Carson Kvapil

Carson Kvapil led a race-high 61 laps and appeared set to head to victory lane until a caution fell on lap 86. Kvapil’s Pinnacle Racing Group team opted to pit him, thereby forfeiting the lead. He never regained it, coming up 0.939 seconds short.

“Yeah, we had a really good car all race long,” Kvapil said. “We were fighting just a little too tight kind of the whole time. We were able to be in clean air and kind of worked in our favor. I don’t think in the dirty air, we were kind of a little bit off, but just when we were able to get out front, we just had clean air, and that was the biggest thing.

“Every pit stop we tried to free it up a little bit; didn’t want to overstep it, though, so we didn’t go too big of changes, by any means. Just didn’t get enough there at the end, being behind the No. 18 there, he having the clean air probably what really did us in.”

Kvapil only has a small sampling of races in ARCA, but the results have been impressive. Three starts resulted in a pair of runner-up finishes and a third-place showing. He’s started each in the top five, too.

Charlotte was his last scheduled ARCA race of the season. It’s a shame, because Kvapil has shown his talent on a national level, in case his NASCAR Xfinity Series performance at Dover Motor Speedway was not enough evidence, and he would be an instant contender. Nevertheless, Kvapil impressed us all the way up to second in these power rankings.

3. Lawless Alan

Lawless Alan’s case is similar to Kvapil’s. Charlotte was also his third career start and he delivered another top-10 day, improving 22 spots from his starting spot of 30th up to eighth.

“Yeah, I think it says a lot about how good we are and competitive we are and kind of more than anything shows everyone else the direction we’re trying to go,” Alan said. “That we’re not just out here to run around, we’re here to compete.”

Reaume Brothers Racing confirmed to Frontstretch that Alan will contest four or five more ARCA events in 2024.

“I’m excited,” he added. “It always feels good to run and kind of get reps in just at any track. It helps more because I go and I have an hour of practice total including the trucks instead of the 20 minutes that all the rest of those guys get. So it helps for track time, it helps me in something that’s way different, drives way different than a truck, so it gives me different philosophies to try.”

4. Greg Van Alst

Compared to his 2023 outcome at Charlotte, Greg Van Alst had a significantly better day, though winding up 11th cost him 10 points to Perez de Lara.

“Not the finish we wanted at charlotte, finished 11th,” a Van Alst Motorsports team member posted on Facebook. “We all wanted more. But what an honor it is to not be satisfied with an 11th-place finish. Three years ago we would have been pumped! We are all hungry for more and will be at the top again in no time!

Five of the next six ARCA races are at short tracks. Those offer Van Alst the opportunity to regain ground on Perez de Lara. In his 12-race ARCA short track tenure, Van Alst has nine top 10s yet only two top fives. If he can turn more of those top 10s into top-five runs, he’ll ensure Perez de Lara will have to be at the top of his game to stay the points leader.

See also
Cole Butcher Steals ASA STARS National Win at Hickory

5. Tanner Gray

Gray followed up his then-career-best finish of second at Kansas Speedway with his Charlotte win. In his last three ARCA starts, he has finishes of third, second and first. He also has the most points of all part-time drivers.

Moreover, his victory inched the No. 18 JGR team closer to Venturini Motorsports in the owner’s standings. JGR gained 10 points on VMS’ No. 20, now unofficially trailing by 13.

Gray now hands the reins over to William Sawalich for the next six races. Sawalich vs. VMS was often the battle for the win in ARCA last year. If JGR comes away with the owners title, Gray’s runs in the last three races will make a difference. And for that, he makes the final spot in these power rankings.

Paint Scheme of the Race

ARCA opened the quadruple-header of racing at Charlotte on Memorial Day weekend and there were several patriotic paint schemes.

At Charlotte, Michael Maples’ No. 99 stood out with its patriotic flare and earns the Paint Scheme of the Race award.

After racing at 1.5-mile Charlotte, ARCA drivers next head to Iowa Speedway as part of that racetrack’s first NASCAR Cup Series race weekend, as a combination race with the ARCA Menards Series East. The Atlas 150 will take place on Friday, June 14 at 8 p.m. ET, with TV coverage provided by FOX Sports 1.

About the author

Frontstretch.com
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Mark Kristl joined Frontstretch at the beginning of the 2019 NASCAR season. He is the site's ARCA Menards Series editor. Kristl is also an Eagle Scout and a proud University of Dayton alum.

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